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Clifford Chance ramping up Africa interest

Posted by: Laurence Simons 12/07/13

Africa could be the next boom market for UK lawyers looking for opportunities outside of the UK, with a recent event in London highlighting the levels of interest in the continent.

Magic circle firm Clifford Chance hosted the event, attracting 80 lawyers from 30 different African countries in a bid to build up strong working relationships between them and their counterparts at CC.

The event also allowed CC clients to meet the magic circle firm's lawyers from its Africa practice, reports Legal Week.

Obviously Africa's vast scale means that the state of the market varies from country to country, with a diverse range of business needs and industry preparedness in each one, but in some ways this could be a strength in comparison to more monochromatic countries.

CC opened its first African office in Morocco in 2011, but is understood to be looking at potential options in other key regional hubs such as Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa.

With economic growth stalling in developed economies, ambitious law firms are looking to these more protean countries as opportunities for building up a new market that could make up for a lack of expansion in the west.

Following the firm's move to Morocco, CC senior partner Malcolm Sweeting said: "Our strategy for Africa is an integral part of our wider commitment to supporting our clients across growth markets. Clients now, more than ever, want access to deep understanding of the complexities and nuances of the African investment landscape."

He pointed out that the company's experience and expertise in a wide range of markets, including China, India and the Middle East, give it a unique insight into what businesses will need when investing in Africa.

While Bono and Bob 'tax havens are the new punk' Geldof might struggle to write an insipid ballad about it, the international focus on building up businesses in African countries is a good indicator of how quickly the continent's economies are progressing.